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Dizzy spells/Collapsing

I'm known for being a clumsy person. I wasn't always this way -- I think since I started suffering from migraines it set in. And when I have one I seem to be extra clumsy, very weak and fatigued. I also think the Imitrex exacerbates those symptoms. I usually brush off some dizziness and clumsiness as migraine symptoms/medication side effects.

But recently it's gotten bad enough that I had to go to the ED. For the past month I've been having what I would call "dizzy spells" where I get very lightheaded, weak, nauseous, shakey, lose muscle coordination and get spotty vision. It is like what normally would happen, but much more severe.

Usually it occurs when I engage in physical activity. I'd go for a walk for 15 minutes and start to get the lightheaded/dizzy feeling. I can't walk straight, and getting up the stairs to my apartment felt like I was hiking a mountain. As I ascended each stair, my vision would fade, and I'd feel so weak that I sometimes had to stop and sit. Again, I just figured it was migraine symptoms/imitrex side effects or dehydration and hoped it would stop happening.

After a few serious episodes, I finally took action when I collapsed. I had a bad migraine and had taken imitrex so the pain was better and I was determined to get a little exercise. My boyfriend and I went to play tennis but I couldn't do it. I couldn't get the ball, it seemed so far away when normally I'd have no problem. I couldn't control my muscles and when I hit it, it'd go flying over the fence or into the other court. After about ten minutes I was done. I didn't feel so hot and I couldn't hit the damn ball. I walked over to pick up the ball and I just fell. I didn't go unconscious-- I just went from standing to being on the ground and not remembering the in between. I started breathing rapid shallow breaths, felt wobbly, sweaty and just all out of sorts. My boyfriend had to help me walk back. I couldn't walk straight, getting up the stairs was nearly impossible, my muscles felt like jello, and my vision felt dark and hazy.

I was out of commission for the rest of the day, and when I would get up I usually had to catch myself against a wall and sit down. This is when I called my doctor and she had me go to the ED. I got IV fluids and they ran all kinds of tests -- blood work, EKGs, monitored my blood pressure, CT scan...I haven't really felt "right" since, and had a couple similar spells since then. They all seem to occur when I have a "tolerable" headache or migraine and have taken imitrex. After I start feeling dizzy, the migraine escalates to a 9.

My Dr is looking into the issue. Basically I was wondering if anyone has had similar episodes or symptoms, if it's purely migraine related, or what it could be.


  1. Hi Chelsea;
    I understand how you feel. Almost 3 years ago I started getting daily migraines. I also started getting very dizzy whenever I changed position (orthostatic blood pressure would drop when I went from sitting to standing). If I bent down to pick something up off of the floor, the same thing would happen, I'd get very dizzy. Then things progressed to the point where I began to get vertigo, and the room (or the world) would begin to tilt crazily around me and I'd just fall. It's very disorienting. Whenever this happens, my vision blacks out and my pain level shoots up as well. I don't usually lose consciousness, but it has happened a couple of times. I kind of hate to say it, But what I thought when I read your post is that you over extended your self before your migraine was totally gone. You stated that the pain was better after you had taken the Imitrex, but was it gone completely? Had you already gone through the postdromal period of the headache?
    It's admirable that you are determined to exercise in spite of your migraines. Yet you really need to let your body recover completely from each headache, and that means going through the postdromal phase, or the phase which comes after the pain ends. Usually this is a one or two day feeling of fatigue or just general blahs. But your nervous system has been assaulted by the migraine pain and other symptoms, it needs to chill out and calm down. You need to be kind to yourself. The migraine beast as I know it, responds best to being soothed, not kicked in the ass.
    I'm not a doctor and don't pretend to be, so I'm glad you went and got checked out, that was totally the right thing to do. I hope you'll let us know what the doctor says.
    I will keep you in my prayers,

    1. That's exactly how I feel, but my blood pressure was fine laying/sitting/standing. I'm wondering if it drops when I get moving because it's always during activity or sudden movement. I've never lost consciousness, I just wind up on the ground. I'll suddenly feel weird and weak and things seem dark but usually I catch myself before I fall.

      It was better, but I don't think it was gone. I feel like if I don't have a migraine, I'm getting one or recovering. I have very few days where I feel like "myself." Sometimes it just feels like one long migraine that is temporarily dulled by the Imitrex. So when the pain is bearable I guess I go a little overboard and try to do all the things I've had to put off.

      I never even knew there were phases until I found this website about a year ago...In ten years not a single doctor mentioned it! And these were neurologists and headache specialists. I wonder how many are even aware of it.

      Thank you. When the migraine pain is gone, every one (including me) expects me to be back to normal. But I have to accept that I can't do things like everyone else. I just needed to hear that it's okay to need more time to recover.

      1. I totally 100% get it about almost never feeling like yourself. From the time I was 11 until 2012, when my migraines actually became daily, I felt that way.
        When you are employed and need to work to support yourself or your family, when you're a mom and need to care for your kids, there are times you just can't do what's best for your head. You usually end up paying for those days with increased or extended pain. So when you do have the ability to take care of yourself properly, take advantage of it! Not only is it okay to take more time to recover, it's the best thing you can do to ensure that the headache won't come back.
        When I'm coming back after a couple of days of being down for the count, I'll sit quietly at my work table and do some mosaic work. If my husband suggests I do anything more strenuous or stressful, I tell him that I'm in the postdromal phase of my headache, and if I don't take care of myself for a day, or possibly 2, the headache could come back. This is absolutely the truth too. So many times I've gone back to work too soon and always I've paid with pain. If you have a hobby that you can get lost in, sit and do that quietly. I love to do mosaics, or painting and stenciling furniture or other small wooden objects like shelves, etc. It's relaxing. Good Luck!!

        1. This has also happened to me, so scary. i was in hospital for 10 days the first time it happened, that was a year others i have had so many scans to the point that when it has passed i feel like a fraud but its so real. i am fed up with people saying you need to relax more, hard when you are working full time. i take tablets prescribe by my doctor which help and am getting a check up this week but now i am having problems with my joints aching? elbows, wrists, knees you name it, any suggestions?

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